51rxpqamxl_sl500_aa240_I’ve officially been a fan of Sara Watkins since … well, since whenever it was that I lamented about Nickel Creek disbanding just as I was getting all cocky about discovering them a few weeks ago. Unofficially, I’ve been a fan for a lot longer, probably since the Glen Phillips collaboration; Mutual Admiration Society.

Anyway, at eight minutes past midnight this morning, iTunes informed me that my pre-ordered copy of Sara’s self titled debut solo album was “ready”. By quarter past midnight, I’d downloaded it. By half past, I was hypnotised, and not just because I’d enjoyed a Sunday night sherry or two too many.

“All This Time” and “Where Will You Be” form the albums achingly beautiful bookends, but in between, there’s no shortage of vocal and lyrical brilliance. And even though I’ve little time for songs about imaginary beings, even the couple of more religiously slanted efforts have enough charm and are delivered with rich, whispery honesty that it’s easy to forgive.

Backing all of this up are her Nickel Creek bandmates and other luminaries such as Gillian Welch. It’s the voice, though, that makes this the triumph that it is. An illumni from the Brandi Carlile / MJB / PJ Harvey School of Goosebump Generators, it’s probably the treat my ears have been saving up their pocket money for.

Highly recommended.